Vancouver – April 16, 2020 – With the support of their union, budtenders at Clarity Cannabis have achieved hazard pay in recognition of their important work on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. UFCW 1518 became the first union to unionize private cannabis dispensary workers in Canada last February, when Clarity Cannabis workers joined the union.
The recognition comes as a result of internal worker activism. Clarity Cannabis budtenders were quick to mobilize around their COVID-19 concerns. While still waiting to negotiate their first contact, they contacted the union to step in. In addition to negotiating a $2 per hour boost for the budtenders retroactive to March 8, 2020, the workers and their union also secured a return to work benefit, which came before the job-protected leave amendment to the B.C. Employment Standards Act, and scheduling by seniority.
With the federal government declaring medical cannabis production an essential service, and the province allowing cannabis businesses to remain operational during COVID-19, it is important that these workers are recognized for their important work throughout the pandemic.
“We are pleased to see cannabis dispensary workers being recognized during this crisis,” says UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “The cannabis industry is an emerging sector and there are many gains to be made for these workers that we will continue to advocate for as we begin bargaining. This premium, together with the strong health and safety measures the employer has put in place to protect workers, are steps in the right direction that we welcome.”
UFCW 1518 continues to advocate for cannabis workers and encourages other dispensaries in British Columbia to recognize the hard work of their staff during the COVID-19 crisis. Budtenders are front line workers and they deserve fairness and protections.
UFCW Local 1518 represents 24,000 members working in the community health, service and hospitality, retail, industrial, and professional sectors across B.C. To learn more about UFCW 1518 and its outstanding work, visit the Local Union’s website.
As the union for cannabis workers, UFCW Canada represents thousands of members in the cannabis sector in British Columbia and the United States and is actively organizing in the cannabis industry across Canada. To read more about this important work, and to learn how you can join the cannabis workers’ union, visit UFCW Canada’s Conscious Cannabis website.